Technology continues to expand and advance. It increasingly has presented opportunities for enhancing learning experiences both through providing greater access to learning and through innovative methods for delivering learning that is more meaningful. This week we examined technology-based training methods that can help to create a successful learning experience that supports the transfer of training and positively impacts the efficiency of delivering training within organizations (Noe, 2013). In using technology to enhance learning in training scenarios however the most critical component is understanding not only the wide variety of technologies that can be used, but also understanding how to select the appropriate technology that will have a positive impact on and support the intended learning objectives and the needs and objectives of the organization (Stolovitch & Keeps, 2011). The following are some the technologies we examined this week that when designed effectively can have a positive impact on training delivery and transfer of training.
Please note that I have also included links to some examples of the various technologies that I have discussed in the technology-based training methods below. Feel free to click on the links to further explore some of these more specific examples that are available for enhancing training.
Social media adds an interactive social component to training where individuals can communicate and share information online and through mobile devices (Noe, 2013). Social media is a technology that has increased in popularity over the last decade and continues to advance and expand with new options for creating a social learning experience. One advantage of using this technology in a training situation includes the ability to link learners to one another and to trainers and experts throughout the training as well as to help reinforce and sustain the learning once the training is completed (Noe, 2013). Additionally, social media is appealing and engaging for generation X and millennial employees and can be used to provide links to additional resources to further enhance learning (Noe, 2013). Some examples of social media technologies “include blogs, wikis, networks such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn, microsharing sites such as Twitter, and shared media such as YouTube” (Noe, 2013, p.335). Social media can play an important part in informal and formal learning that occurs within an organization (Noe, 2013). A word of caution that one should note however before choosing to implement social media as a technology for enhancing a learning experience is that other factors such as whether or not social media actually will support the intended learning objectives or whether or not social media is already used within the organization and will support the organization’s business strategies should be considered to ensure that the use of this technology has a positive impact on learning (Noe, 2013).
Virtual worlds are “computer-based, simulated online three-dimensional representations of the real world where learning programs or experiences can be hosted” (Noe, 2013, p.343). Virtual worlds provide a training experience where the trainee can be placed in an environment and situation that mimic the actual work environment. This allows the trainee an opportunity to experience and practice their knowledge and skills in a risk free environment and is useful for training situations where trainee errors could potentially harms others or products and equipment (Noe, 2013). Virtual worlds are useful in training situations that involve problem solving and interpersonal skills and are beneficial for making the training experience more interactive (Noe, 2013). Virtual worlds can be expensive to implement for training however as technology continues to expand the costs associated with developing this training technology will continue to decrease making it a more viable option for organizations to invest in this technology when it appropriately meets the needs of the learning objectives and the business needs of the organization (Noe, 2013). Some examples of virtual world technologies that organizations can use for training include Second Life, Kaneva, or ActiveWorlds.
Mobile technology is an important training technology for organizations that have a global workforce and for organizations that need to reach a learning audience that is on the go. Mobile technologies allow for learning to take place anytime and anywhere as training can be delivered via mobile device such as a tablet computers, smartphones, or notebook computers (Noe, 2013). Training can be delivered both formally and informally to trainees through the use of podcasting or apps (Noe, 2013). Mobile technology is best suited for training situations where it is utilized to supplement other learning or in situations where the knowledge and skills being taught do not require a lengthy time commitment by the trainee and focus on providing meaningful content that easily engages the trainee (Noe, 2013). Podcasting is a mobile technology that allows for training content to be distributed to trainees via audio or video programs where trainees can listen to the training information anytime and anywhere (Noe, 2013). Podcasting is especially useful as it can be created formally by delivering specific training content and can provide an excellent opportunity for informal learning when trainees access and subscribe to podcasts created by individuals outside of the organization that focus on developing skills such as leadership or effective communication.
Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems (LMS) are a training technology that is used by organizations for “administration, development, and delivery” of training (Noe, 2013, p.352). LMS are platforms that allow an organization to track the learning activities of individual employees and their learning outcomes in order to identify training needs for employees to ensure they have adequate development of skills and knowledge needed for their job (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). Additionally, LMS are an important technology tool for organizations needing to track learning activities for regulatory requirements such in the healthcare industry or government agencies (Noe, 2013). LMS can be an effective tool for organizing the delivery of online courses and it is important to ensure that the organization already has a culture of delivering training via e-learning when choosing to invest in implementing this technology to support training successfully (Noe, 2013).
“MOOC is an acronym that stands for massive open online course” (Herring, 2014, p.47). MOOCs are a training technology that was not discussed within our course text this week, but an emerging technology that increasingly is finding its way into training and learning within organizations. MOOCs provide organizations with an opportunity to develop learning opportunities both for employees as well as customers (Herring, 2014). MOOCs expand learning opportunities for organizations to have employees engage in developing specific skills necessary for functioning in different roles and for employees to receive a certification showing their accomplishment of acquiring that particular skill set once the program has been completed (Herring, 2014). Additionally, organizations can utilize MOOCs for talent acquisition by selecting learners who have successfully completed specific programs for roles within the organization that requires the skills that were learned in the MOOC program (Herring, 2014). Much like other technologies that can be utilized for training employees, organizations should be cautious and conscientious of their business needs and goals when choosing to utilize MOOCs for training as not all MOOCs are designed effectively to appropriately meet training and learning needs. Some examples of website where MOOCs can found are Coursera, Udacity, and EdX (Herring, 2014).
Herring, S. (2014). MOOCs Come of Age. T+D, 68(1), 46-49.
Noe, R. A. (2013). Employee training and development (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.
Stolovitch, H. D., & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling ain’t training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.
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